Starting a New Momentum

    We all find ourselves caught up in a routine where we are stuck, sort of like on autopilot. We get comfortable doing what we are doing and it is easy to stay on the same path. The vast majority of people don't like change and will only change when necessary. Personally, I do like change and have even been guilty of changing something just to change. Just like anything else there is both good and bad change. Regardless of what momentum we have going on, there is always a need to work towards a better momentum. Here are just a few examples of how to develop a new momentum.

  1. Life Changes. We all have changes in our life that outside of our control and our momentum is changed for us. This is the most common form of momentum change as several people will only change when they need to be.

  2. Take Inventory and then Action. Take an inventory of your current momentum, patterns, and tendencies. Check to see which areas of your schedule and routine are working and which ones aren't.

  3. Set regular goals. To keep any momentum going it is important to ensure that you have regular goals in place and that you regularly review them. 

  4. Establish a regular routine. I do encourage this frequently, and I do stand by the importance of having a regular routine. Just make sure that you don't go too far with it.

  5. Get yourself motivated. You may have been motivated at one point, but it is easy to lose the motivation once the excitement of reaching for a fresh goal wears off. It is important to keep motivated so that you keep your momentum going. 

It is important to keep a good momentum going. Your momentum can be key to achieving goals and being as productive as you can be. We can all struggle with momentum at times but remember that the longer you keep a momentum going, the stronger it can become.

You May Not Need to be Scheduling Everything

Today marks three years since I officially decided to make Google Calendar my main calendar. Before that I had several methods dating back to PDAs, Pocket PC’s, paper planners, and Apple’s calendar. When I switched to Google Calendar, I was able to sync between every device and it synced very well. While I still use Google Calendar today, my method has changed durastically. At the time, I had every task, even the one minute tasks on Google Calendar. I later switched to using an app called TimeTune for smaller tasks and Google Calendar only for main events, typically ones that require to physically be at. Since then, I have dialed back on the tasks on TimeTune as well. I also use Nozbe for my to do list so I now have a method that doesn’t involve duplication of scheduling like before. I am able to connect these apps to TimeTune to view all of them in one place. I say all of this to say that I have come to a system that seems to be working very well for me and this is a great process for you to do as well. I also want to emphasize that it is better that I don’t have a rigid minute by minute schedule like in the times past. If you do schedule every minute of your day and it is working great for you, continue to do it. I think that works well for a season, but for most people there is definitely value in having a more fluid schedule that has a lot of flexibility in it. Below are a few reasons why you don’t need to be scheduling every single thing that you do.

  1. To be more flexible. You are more flexible when you have unscheduled time. Life is unpredictable and can require a significant shift of priorities in a short amount of time.

  2. To save time. It is possible to spend to much time scheduling and planning. If it gets to the point where the costs outweighs the benefits, it is much better to seek an less intensive alternative.

  3. To be more sane. If you are stressing too much trying to perfect a routine and schedule, then you are probably doing more harm than good. Loosen up and find a healthy balance.

  4. To be more productive. I am a huge proponent of doing something different for a better result. You can’t do the same thing over and over and expect a better result. I recommend trying a few different scheduling styles to see which one works best. Maybe the extremely detailed works the best now, but do check on some periodic basis to see if it still the best results later on.

  5. To be less annoying. I used to be inflexible and obsessed with detailed schedules and some found it annoying. By loosening up it will do yourself and those around you a favor.

I know from experience of the costs and benefits of both a very detailed schedule and also having no schedule, and several points in between. My findings are that somewhere in between is ideal, and will shift from different times in your life. There are times when it is beneficial to be more scheduled than others. I would definitely recommend some kind of regular evaluation (i.e quarterly, annually) to ensure that you’re using the best method of scheduling for your situation. All the best in your scheduling and please let me know your thoughts on what scheduling methods work best for you.

Don’t Let the Small Things Take You Down

Have you ever been caught up with so many little things that you don’t know what you should be doing next? It is easy to get bogged down by a huge to do list that you can be paralyzed. I have been in that trap several times. I see a list of over 50 things and get distracted just by wondering what I should be doing next. This is a trap that anyone can fall into, whether or not you keep a to do list and can happen if you are not that busy. Your perception also plays a large role in this. However, it is generally agreed upon that a high quantity of to dos can easily bog you down. Here are a few ways on how to limit them from taking you down with them.

  1. Have a to do list. First step to not getting overwhelmed by small tasks is awareness of them. You should have some kind of to do list or other system that will help you stay aware of what needs to be done.

  2. Have a steady routine and schedule. When you have a regular routine and schedule in place, it is easier to not get overwhelmed. This will only work if you are able to have a steady some routine. Also take note, that some people are much better at this than others. 

  3. Take a step back and look at the big picture. We can all get caught up in the weeds sometimes. When we get overwhelmed, it does us well to look at the big picture and why we are working for what you are working towards.

  4. Keep Moving Forward. One thing to keep in mind when you have a hundred little things to do, is to keep moving forward. You must accept that you won’t get everything done, but you can get a good number of small things done to shrink the list. 

There are many things to keep in mind when you are working towards a goal. It is important to stay focused on that goal and not get too caught up in little things that every day life throws to us. Life gets crazy for all of us, but with a good system in place, we can stay on top of it all.

When to Give Up

I thought I’d title this post with a somewhat shocking title. Don't take this the wrong way, I am not in some crazy mood and I am not ready to "give up" on anything important. I value and encourage consistency, persistence, and trying your hardest until there is absolutely no other option. In a previous post last September, I have written a post on why you should not give up. I described what you should do when it does get difficult and how to avoid giving up. This is the case when you know that you should be doing what you are doing and that it is an non-negotiable goal of yours. There is another side of the coin. There comes a time when you either know or will know that what you are doing isn't working. I have been there with jobs, classes, and personal tasks. It is officially time to give up. I do not encourage quitting, but here are some times when you should consider throwing in the towel.

  1. You absolutely can't stand what you are doing. If what you are doing makes you completely miserable, you may consider that this may not be the thing for you. I understand that most situations do not have an immediate exit, so it is even better to avoid getting too deep into a terrible situation before it gets too bad.

  2. You are extremely stressed out and your health is affected. If you are stressed out to the point that your health is affected, you are in the wrong situation and should seek a way out. Again, not all situations have an immediate exit, so use caution in working out the appropriate timing.

  3. You don't have passion or interest. I get that we can't always be doing something we love doing. However, that does not mean that we have to pursue a career path that will leave us empty for our entire time we are in it. Life is relatively short and time flies by, don't spend it doing something you don't really want to do. There is a balance in life that we should find something to do that is still profitable, but yet usually enjoy doing and can be done well.

  4. You made a mistake. We all make mistakes, we may have picked a class that is too hard in school or is not in an interest for you, or ended up in a job they were a poor fit with. 

  5. You are in situation that ended and you don't have any control over it. There are many things in life that are out of our control and they are over. For example, if you got laid off, then you are in a situation that is beyond your control. It is time to just keep going with the things in your life that are in action.

As you can see, there are several reasons to quit something that is no longer profitable or no longer existent in your life. As I said in an earlier post last year, it is time to stop blowing up a popped balloon. I understand that situations like this can be difficult, so if this is the case for you, I wish all the best on whatever comes next.

Feeling Stuck, Try This

We all end up stuck at times. It could happen for many different reasons. Maybe we feel stuck because we have been in the same place for a long time. Maybe you have doing something the same way for far too long. Maybe you are just bored. Maybe you haven't reached or even started a new goal in a long time. Whatever the reason, we all can and will feel stuck where we are at times. While there are many causes to feel like this, there are also many ways can break free from being stuck. Here are just a few.

  1. Do Something Different. You can't expect a different result if you keep doing the same thing. Unfortunately, this is far too common and it happens with all of us. In fact, a definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expect a different result. In reality, we will rarely see a different result by continuing the same path, so don't gamble on odds that can be considered insane.

  2. Do more of what you need to. When you do the things that you need to do be doing, the more likely you will develop a habit of these positive actions. Not only will you have more of what you are looking for, but you will also have less of what you don't want. When you say yes to something, you say no to something else.

  3. Do less of what you don't need to be doing. Just like doing more of what you should be doing will improve, doing less of what you don't need to do will help also. As a rule of thumb, what you need to be doing is whatever is going to bring you towards your goals, and anything that doesn't help you or even bring you further from your goals.

  4. Stay consistent. Whatever momentum that you do have towards your goal, will only improve if you stay consistent. The worst thing to do when you have momentum going is to stop. Once you stop and lose momentum, it is only that much harder to get back into it

  5. Tweak or pivot your goal. It may be time to make changes to your goal. If you have had the same goal for a long time and have not achieved the results you are looking for, it may be time to make changes to make it more obtainable. We need to have a goal that is attainable, when we don't we may be trying to do something that just isn't working. 

Whenever, we are doing something that isn't working, we get stuck. The longer we feel stuck, the less motivation we have and more likely we are to give up. Life is not easy, and you should strive to reach for challenging and difficult goals. However, if we are in a situation where are going too long without substantial results, then we may be stuck. When you are stuck, it is time to get unstuck and back on track!

When to Pick up the Pace

Last week I discussed how dangerous it can to be rushing all of the time. When you rush around too much, you do not end up getting more done. You get caught up in a lifestyle of frustration, aggravation, and stress. While you see that rushing around can be detrimental, it is also important to understand the downfalls of moving too slowly. It is like going bowling, the closest to the middle is the best shot you can take and you get a gutter ball on either side. You may have mastered not rushing too much, and maybe you are too good at it! It's time to explore the other side of the coin, for the times you are not moving quickly enough. There are many ways we can move too slowly on something. Below are just a few examples and how you can avoid them.

  1. Taking too long to make a decision. If you take too long to make a decision, you can miss out on making a right decision. You can best improve this by developing a decision making process to expedite your decision, like a pros and cons list. I have written a post about making decisions.

  2. Accomplishing a task too slowly. While it is great to be careful and ensure that a task is completed with accuracy, it is not beneficial if it is done too slowly and not done by the deadline assigned to it. In this case, the more experience you have doing any task, the more quickly it can be completed.

  3. Getting to places to late. We can be late for many different reasons. One of them is that we simply take too long to do what we need to do to get going on time. I have written a post regarding being on time in the past, and I went to continue about the reasons we are late to things. If taking too long to complete tasks when getting ready is holding you back, then it will benefit to re-evaluate your routine for when you are getting ready to go where you need to get to on time.

  4. Taking too much time to reach a goal. While I do agree that we should not rush into any trying to achieve any big goal, we also should not be taking forever to reach a goal. We can do this because of fear, doubt, or even just plain laziness. We are all guilty of this, and I know that I am at times. If there is something you really want to do, and it is 5 years later and it is still not done, it's time to get going!

It is beneficial to understand when it is time to get going and pick up the pace. Let's remember the benefits of being as close to the middle as possible. While there is a saying "slow and steady wins the race", I don't believe that is entirely true. I prefer to say "steady and consistent." 

The Perils of Rushing

Have you ever been in a hurry to get something done? You may be against a tight deadline or maybe you want to just get it done. There is a difference between rushing and doing something efficiently. When something is done efficiently, it is done thoroughly and completely and still quickly. Rushing through something will often lead to mistakes, and can often prolong the total amount of time to get something done overall. Here are just a few reasons not to rush through what you are doing.

  1. You can make mistakes and errors. It is much easier to make mistakes when you are in a rush. It is not worth the time and frustration to correct the mistakes.

  2. Rushing will make you frustrated and flustered. You are not in a good mood when you are rushing around. It is common to lash out at someone because you are rushing to get something done or to get somewhere. It is worth planning ahead and leaving on time if possible.

  3. Rushing can become a habit. If you experience with rushing isn’t bad enough to deter you from doing it again, you will possibly make it a habit. More often than not, this could be subconsciously and before you know it, you may be rushing to more places than you want to.

  4. Even worse, rushing can become a lifestyle. It is possible to end up with a lifestyle where you rush everywhere and to get everything done. We all rush from time to time, but if we get into the habit of waiting to the last minute all of the time long enough, it becomes normal for us.

Now I do understand that we are all going to have urgent situations in our life that arise or we are given an project or assignment with just not enough time to complete well. It may also be beneficial if there is enough urgency that we have created to so we can maximize our efficiency. Just like anything else, there are gray areas and not cut and dry. If you are rushing and you are completely happy and feel you are at your most productive, then keep up the pace!

Spring Cleaning for Your Goals

Spring is an excellent time to do something new. It is not the only time of year that is great for starting something new, and I don’t think you need to wait until a certain time to do something new anyway. However, since we are beginning to see the weather improve, flowers and grass bloom (and allergies for many), this does make a good time to review our goals and start new goals. It is a good practice to review your goals regularly and update them. Here are just a few things to look at this spring season concerning your goals.

  1. Take inventory of your current goals. The first step to cleaning up or getting anything in order is to first take a look at your current situation. What do your goals look like? Do you have any goals at all?

  2. Make the necessary adjustments. This would involve either making goals or adjusting goals to a situation that would work better for you. While planning isn't the only thing you should do regarding goals, it important that you do set goals.

  3. Act on the plan to complete your goals. Now is the time to take action on your new goals. Make sure that your steps are attainable. There is nothing worse than trying to accomplish too much at once and then getting overwhelmed and end up achieving nothing.

  4. Continue to adjust as needed. As much fun as it could be to start a new system and do a lot of cleaning up (if this is something that you enjoy doing), it is even better if you can stay on top of it. The more you stay on top of your goals, the better off you are and the less time you need to spend on a whole new goal system.

As we enter this spring season, it is time to embrace our goals and where we want to go next. Regardless of where we are in life, we need to understand that there is always room for improvement and we can become a better version of ourselves.

Spring Cleaning and a Stagnant Schedule

We all get to a place when we have a stagnant schedule and it can be pretty challenging on how to keep your schedule fresh and productive. With our lives constantly changing, new activities beginning, ending, and transitioning in many ways, it is very easy for our schedules and routines to become ineffective and even obsolete if we don’t evaluate it enough. There are several things that we can do to ensure that we don’t fall into a bland schedule and routine to the point that our routines and schedules are irrelevant and useless. Below are a few:

  1. Run a health check on your schedule. Just like everything else you need to take inventory of where you stand. Ask yourself a few questions. Is my current schedule and routine working for me? Are there any areas that are very ineffective? What can be improved and how can that be implemented.

  2. Analyze the results you find. Adjust your schedule and routine based on what you find. You want to get to the place that you are constantly adjusting your routine to what would be the most optimal level of effectiveness. 

  3. Take a break from your routine or schedule. If you find that your current routine is not working, you may do best by taking off from your routine and schedule. This should not be done very often but may be a great option when you find what you are doing to be ineffective.

  4. Start a new schedule from scratch. As a last resort it may be best to start a brand new schedule from scratch. This is the best path to take when you do not have a schedule in place. It seems that every once in a while I do this, usually in the case of when I found a new app or method that I am implementing. 

Spring is a wonderful time to look at your schedule while you are looking at everything else. While the weather begins to improve and we are busy cleaning out our houses and organizing our finances, this is a great time to clean up our schedules so that we can keep things the way we liked them after we do the cleaning that we need to do. I hope you are having a good spring season and are making strides towards your goals.

Spring Cleaning and Your Finances

Today is my dad’s birthday and I do want to take time to recognize him for not only who he is as my father but concerning his love for efficiency. He would always boast for his love of efficiency and was excellent at getting many things done. I can definitely speak for how efficiency minded he is and I had gladly followed in his footsteps regarding efficiency.

it is also that time of year again, time for spring cleaning! This is a perfect time of year to take inventory of every area of our lives and how they relate to our productivity. Last week I mentioned the benefits of being financially organized and how that can save us time. While being on that note, I will kick of the spring cleaning series for this year with spring cleaning for our finances. 

Your question may be how does this relate to productivity? 

For the quickest answer, read my previous post about being financially organized. You will see all of the ways that being financially organized will save you time...and money. With spring approaching, it is an excellent time to get organized and get on track to doing things the best way possible. Below you will see ways that you can set up a plan for financial spring cleaning

  1. Evaluate your budget. If you do not have a budget, make one. Next step is to make sure you are actually following it. If you have been following a budget for a while, it may be time to do a bit of spring cleaning with it. Check to see if the categories and the amounts still make sense. Life changes all of the time, so doing this regularly is recommended.

  2. Be clear on your financial goals. Ultimately time is money, therefore get your money in order so you can have the time you need to do what you need to do. When you have a clear financial goal, you are able to decide how to use your time and make the most of it to maximize the money that you can user for the future. 

  3. Make the best of your current situation. Take inventory of your current situation and make the best of it. If you are not where you are financially when you want to be, you can be eventually by maximizing the use of your time. This will look differently for each person and will be highly personalized based on your situation on how the details would look.

  4. Eliminate time and money sucks. We all have time stuff that either costs us more time than we should be spending and more money than we should be spending. It can very well be the same thing. This is where revisiting our financial and time priorities regularly to make sure we are on the right track with our goals. Spring time is a great time to do this as we are excited about the change of seasons and the freshness that comes with the season.

  5. Develop a new spending/saving strategy. Finding a spending and saving strategy is a great exercise for both your money and time. You have to spend time and you have to spend money. It is best to find a way to get a return of some kind when you spend something. The most obvious example is when you spend time to work and you make money. They can work interchangeably or also like credit card rewards where you are rewarded money for spending money. The bottom line is to consider how any transaction will net you in both terms of time and money.  

Time and money have a strong relationship with each other. They are so frequently used interchangeably that we should always consider them together. You can be rich in time, but poor in money, or the other way around. You can also be rich or poor in both. Observing the relationship that time has with money is important to helping you manage your resources.